History was made on the hills of Oestersund, Sweden on Saturday as two-time Olympian Jean-Phillippe Le Guellec captured a gold medal by winning the sprint competition to become the first Canadian male biathlete to reach the top of the podium at a World Cup event.
The native of Shannon, Que had a perfect day of skiing and an extraordinary day on the range where he shot clean to post a winning time of 25 minutes, 10.4 seconds in the 10-kilometre sprint event.
“It is a huge, huge day,” beamed Le Guellec. “I’m still surprised this actually happened. I’m definitely happy. Everyone on the team is just ecstatic. That goes without saying. We were all in the wax room and just totally, totally happy.”
Le Guellec credits his coach, Jean Pacquet, with preparing him for this moment and having him mentally and physically ready.
“My coach said to me the day you’ll be on the podium is the day you’ll expect it the least. Just go out there and do what you do – ski smooth, stay relaxed, and shoot every target one at a time,” said the 27-year-old Le Guellec. “That is exactly what I did today. The first lap I started to tense up a bit, but I told myself to just have fun, be relaxed and stay smooth. Those were the key words for the whole race. It finally happened and hopefully this is momentum for the rest of the season.”
The sharp-shooting Canuck gave the country a glimpse of his potential at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver when he finished in the top-15 in all four events, including a sixth in the sprint competition.